MYRTLE BEACH — Nick Tepesch thought he was going to take the mound for the Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Texas Rangers, on Wednesday.
However, Tepesch was scratched from his start and was called up to Class AA Frisco and on less than two-hours notice, Kyle Devore was called on to make his first professional start for Myrtle Beach.
Devore made the longest appearance of his career but the Pelicans couldn’t pull it off as Myrtle Beach fell to Potomac 5-4 at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.
“I think the job that Devore did tonight was outstanding,” Pelicans manager Jason Wood said. “We needed five solid innings from him to save our bullpen. It was something I couldn’t ask for, despite those two two-out walks. He was wonderful.”
Devore went five innings, struck out four, walked one and gave up four earned runs for a no decision.
“It was okay,” Devore said of his start. “I just wanted to go out there and give us a chance to win the ballgame. It can always be better, it can always be worse.”
Devore was pleased to hear the news that he would get the starting gig.
“It was dropped on me about an hour and a half before the game,” Devore said. “I was happy. I was excited and I wanted to go out there and give my team the chance and that’s what I ended up doing.”
Devore’s parents flew in from California at 6 a.m. to see him pitch and had no idea he was starting until he noticed them prior to the game.
“That was pretty cool,” Devore said. “They were excited for me. I texted them real quick and they definitely got here early.”
Devore appeared in six games for the Pelicans this season prior to Wednesday’s start and posted a 1.46 ERA in 12 1/3 innings.
During his time in Myrtle Beach, Tepesch went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 12 starts and combined with Jimmy Reyes on a no-hitter.
“I think he was outstanding,” Wood said of Tepesch. “I think from day one he did a wonderful job stepping in. He’s a solid guy in the rotation and I couldn’t be happier for a kid who did a great job. He’s a guy who gave us innings throughout the season and he deserves [the call-up] more than anyone here. He’ll do fine in double-A.”
The Pelicans got on the board early when Jared Hoying drove in Odubel Herrera on a groundout in the bottom of the first inning to give Myrtle Beach a 1-0 lead.
Nationals designated hitter Francisco Soriano drove in Blake Kelso on a single in the top of the third inning, and Potomac tied the game at 1. Kevin Keyes drove in Michael Taylor on a single for the Nationals in the top of the third inning and Potomac took a 2-1 lead.
The Nationals took a three run advantage in the top of the fifth when Ricky Hague drove in Soriano on a two-run home run off Devore.
The Pelicans tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Josh Richmond singled in Tomas Telis in the bottom of the fifth to cut Myrtle Beach’s deficit to two. Pelicans left fielder Teodoro Martinez belted a two-run single later in the inning that scored Vinny DiFazio and Richmond to tie the game at 4.
“It was off and on,” Wood said of the teams’ offense. “I think we got to them early and then we got some clutch hitting from Martinez, he tied the game up late. We faced a really good pitcher tonight, we did a really good job. Hopefully we keep battling.”
Rick Hague hit the game-winning one-run sacrifice fly to left field for Potomac and Martinez made a cut-off the throw to Pelicans reliever Francisco Mendoza, who gunned down Kelso at first place for an inning-ending double play, but the Nationals took a 5-4 lead.
Despite the loss, Wood expects his Pelicans to come out on top in the series. Myrtle Beach will play Potomac at 7:05 p.m. Friday.
“I expect to win the series,” Wood said. “We got three more to play. We’re going to work hard and hopefully pull it out.”